I’ve always been a sociable person and making friends always came easily to me.
That is, it was easy for me, until I left school and had to go out into the real world.
I got married fairly quickly out of college and moved to a new city where I knew nobody except my spouse.
Needless to say I was incredibly lonely. This was the first time I realized making friends when you are both an adult and you have a partner is really difficult, especially if you don’t have kids.
Why is so difficult to make friends?
I think the biggest reason it is hard is because you kind of need “something” to connect you with another person.
When you are in school you are connected to others by your grade, your major, and your classes. There are so many parties, and bars, and events where everyone is the “same”- basically you are all students.
But once you get out of school, there isn’t as much of an opportunity to meet people.
I mean how often to you get to chatting with someone at the grocery store? Ok, I chat with random strangers at the market all the time, but that is because I am a busybody.
But I have never actually made a friend while out running errands.
I remember my mother telling me to join a book club because I love to read. Oh, ok, where the heck am I to find a book club? It isn’t like they advertise such things in the paper, and this was before the internet was as pervasive as it is now.
I mean I have only been on Facebook for about four years, and we are talking 13 years ago! To a certain extent I think the advent of the internet can be very helpful nowadays to connecting with people.
But I digress. My point about the book club is it is really difficult to join a club when you don’t know any members!
I was in Manhattan Beach for two years before I had my first child. Then things got a bit easier.
I joined three mommy and me classes because I was so desperate for adult contact, and because I was totally overwhelmed with having a baby.
One of the classes had a great bunch of women in it and for a few years those were my friends. But once the kids started preschool everyone sort of faded off and found new friends. I ended up becoming friends with the ladies at the preschool because when you have children that becomes the “thing” you have in common.
As classes are to finding friends as a student, a child is to finding friends as an adult.
But there arises a second problem in finding friends as an adult.
For those of us who are married, it is extremely difficult to find friends where both of us like both the husband and wife.
I might like the wife, but my husband isn’t fond of her husband. Or he might have a friend who has a wife with whom I have nothing in common. So not only do you have to find someone you like, you also have to find someone who has a spouse that gets along with your spouse!
I swear it can be really difficult.
Another problem with making friends is life is more complicated as an adult.
So many of us have a job, plus a partner, and maybe a few kids. When you get right down to it, who has time for friends?
We’ve all experienced friends who had children and fell off the face of the earth. But as a mother of three I can tell you that it is really difficult to be able to find the time to wash your hair, let alone go out for drinks with a few girlfriends.
Of course once the kids get a little older things return to normal, thank goodness!
So how do I make friends as an adult
I don’t have too much advice for those of you who are single and looking for new friends.
I would suggest finding some kind of young adult sports club. We happen to live directly behind a public baseball field and four nights a week there is a single’s kickball league. As someone who is not very sporty, I think that would be fun!
I have also heard that roller derby is pretty popular. You couldn’t pay me enough money to get my ass kicked by those ladies, because they are fierce! But if you are into that kind of thing, I bet the derby girls are highly entertaining.
For those of you who are married but don’t have kids, I have even less advice.
I have heard about people making friends at the gym, but that has never happened to me. Of course I never met a guy at a bar and started dating him either, so maybe it is just me.
One thing I would say is if you get invited to something say yes. Always.
And then make it your goal to try and interact with at least three strangers at the party.
If you find someone you like, follow up.
One thing I have a bad habit about is not following through. For example I met a lady at my kid’s open house at school who has a vintage online shop and is a fashion stylist. Her taste leans towards the 70s, but I would kill for a fashion friend!
Unfortunately I didn’t contact her for at least a week after we met and by then I had lost her business card.
I emailed her at her store, but who knows if she got the message. So if you like someone, invite them for coffee! Go see a movie. Do something to try and make that connection stronger.
Finally, for those of you who are married with children, you have probably noticed your friends revolve around the parents of the friends of your children.
Personally I like this because the kids can run around and play while the parents have a cocktail or five.
As you all know, I am a big fan of having friends for dinner and I have found this to be the best way that I make friends. I mean who doesn’t like a home cooked meal?
I happen to be very lucky because last year a fantastic couple moved next door to us and we love them! We invited them for dinner one Friday night and I think they have come almost every single Friday night since then! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I also found joining a temple (church) opened up our social life as well.
I am currently looking for an interesting book club and I would love to find a wine tasting club, but so far both have alluded me. I also have a secret desire to bring back bridge and need to start talking it up to the friends I already have.
How do you make friends?
My question to you ladies is: do you also have a difficult time making friends as an adult? How did you find the friends you have? Do you have any advice or tips for me and my readers? Because I could always use some new friends.